The South-south geopolitical zone has the highest HIV prevalence among adults age 15 to 64 years in the country with 3.1 percent, while the Northwest had the lowest prevalence rate with 0.6 percent.
This was disclosed by the Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Sani Aliyu, during the formal unveiling of the findings by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja.
He said the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) considered one of the largest population-based HIV/AIDS household surveys in the world has revealed that 1.9 million Nigerians live with HIV/AIDS.
He said the survey also revealed that HIV prevalence was highest among females than males.
Previous surveys had shown that 3.2 million people live with the disease in the country.
The federal government with the support of the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund to fight HIV, TB and Malaria, and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other partners had in June last year launched the survey to enable it develop strategies towards eradication of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C.
The survey directly measured HIV prevalence and viral load suppression, allowing Nigeria to focus on providing services to the areas with the greatest need to control the HIV epidemic.
Dr Aliyu said: “It is important that all people living with HIV get into treatment and achieve viral suppression. To halt the epidemic, we need to act now. As a government working with our partners, we have what it takes to support persons who are HIV-positive, to provide treatment, to protect their families and to help people live long and healthy lives,”
Minister of Health, Professor Isaac F. Adewole, said the survey findings provide Nigeria with an accurate national HIV prevalence measure of 1.4%. He said NAIIS also showed that the country was able to effectively provide antiretroviral treatment.
“Everyone infected with HIV needs to get treatment so they can achieve viral suppression, especially pregnant women. We must ensure pregnant women have access to ANC services and are tested during every pregnancy. We know we can support HIV-positive mothers, hence ensuring the next generation is free from HIV,” he said.